leaving crying children

To leave or not to leave, is not the question!

Many of us have faced leaving our child at daycare or a new school for the first time. Sometimes it is hard to know the right thing to do if your child shows distress at parting or at home afterwards. We get lots of advice, mostly, “ Leave them right away, they’ll be fine once you are gone.” The answer as to what to do does not lie in the leaving or not leaving. When deciding how to leave a child at daycare or school, it is important to consider the following during the transition:

  • Your child’s age and developmental needs.
  • Is your child’s caregiver working with you or insisting on their method?
  • Has your child experienced any other recent changes or illness that impact her adjustment?
  • Have you taken the time to visit the setting a few times, and have some short days first?

While there might be the occasion when leaving right away is merited or needed, and you find that your child is adjusting well, there are times when leaving this way will undermine your child’s security in the new setting in the long run. There are times when making adjustments in your schedule, or slowing down the transition are exactly what your child needs to make a healthy adjustment that makes them feel secure.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Interview your provider to assess if they are willing to work with you to help find a solution in your child’s best interest together.
  • Take time to transition with several visits to the setting, so your child can see mommy (and daddy too) interact with the caregiver in a natural way, and get a chance to acclimate to the setting.
  • Let your decision on how to handle signs of distress in your child be informed by the events in your family’s life, and developmental stage, or illness.
  • Never make your child wrong for expressing his or her needs in the way they do, simply take the time to meet those needs.

Image Credit: Andrea Sisouvong

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Andrea Giammattei has a Master of Science in Special Education from Fordham University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Oneonta State University. She is a seasoned learning specialist, educational therapist, and counselor with over 25 years experience. She has worked in public and private schools, as well as in private practice. Andrea has a diverse interdisciplinary background, experience leading teams, and many years of experience working closely with students and parents in partnership. In private practice she performs educational assessments and designs individualized curriculum for students with varied learning differences including ADHD, dyslexia, Math disabilities, visual and language based challenges, sensory challenges and spectrum disorders. Andrea is passionate and clear that students need to be taught skills for emotional intelligence as well as cognitive intelligence, and that these skills are easily integrated. She believes the kids greatly desire to work hard and be successful. Students are creative and inspired to be their best in the right environment, and will expand to their unique potential when given the chance and with people who believe in them. As an innovative educational leader, teacher and counselor, Andrea strives to inspire motivating learning environments full of curiosity, the courage to take risks, and development of positive self-esteem. She believes that the relationship between a teacher and her students needs to be one of trust partnership and creativity. Andrea is the owner of Open Minds Learning. You can reach Andrea at 808 280 0535 or at andreagia2014@gmail.com . She is currently residing in NY City.


  1. It really helped when you said that parents should be aware of the needs of their child to have an idea if it would be best to take some time before leaving them in the daycare. I will keep that in mind since my husband and I are new parents which make us really anxious when we start sending our child to a daycare. Our kid is also the shy type which is why we think that he will have a hard time adjusting in the future. Thanks!

  2. I’m so Happy to find out that these articles I wrote a while ago are still reaching people and are helpful. I find that at every stage of your child’s development you grow as a parent and understanding their needs and stretching yourself to meet them. It is a beautiful journey but it is not without growing pains. My son is almost 13 and there some days I still feel a little agony with the parts for me in the morning and I feel a great sense of relief to have him return home at the end of the day. Blessings for your journey


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